Facebook Shows Mobile Where to Go

Facebook unveiled a new panoramic 3-D mobile video ad format at the Cannes Lion Awards last month.  It was only a mockup in a video that showed an immersive mobile ad for Michael Kors, but it gave us all an idea of where Facebook thinks mobile is going and how mobile advertising can capture the hearts and minds of those elusive Millennials.

The new format is a form of sponsored content in which a user clicking on the content will be shown an interactive ad. The user can pinch or otherwise move fingers on the screen to get a 360 degree view of the watch product.

This ad format takes advantage of all the hype around both native advertising and 3-D photography, with a little augmented reality thrown in for good measure. It is meant to be the kind of format that will make people think mobile ads are worth watching.

For Facebook, it cinches the platform’s position as mobile first, something analysts not very long ago thought Facebook couldn’t become. And yet in the past year it has split into several apps, including Messenger and Paper, and made Messenger independent to the point where you can log in and use it without a regular Facebook account. Facebook has also announced that it will develop Messenger into its own platform, with the capacity to send cash and place video calls.

At Cannes, the ad format was well-received, perhaps because there are already other mobile ad networks that use 3-D ad formats, but also because the creatives at Cannes probably were excited by the challenge of coming up with the right campaigns.

According to Omer Kaplan, co-founder of IronSource

 “It’s not enough to say that native, social, and video ads are delivering better return on investment than display or banner ads. If we truly want to leverage the power of mobile, we need to find a way to talk to users in the language they have developed on mobile. Facebook’s immersive, panoramic and interactive ad formats do exactly that, and we can expect to see many more ad-tech providers following suit.”

Facebook says the rich media ad will seamlessly blend into users’ news feeds, just like an advertising version of Instant Articles. the publisher product that also launched in late June. Re/Code says it best:

Imagine a mashup of all Facebook’s current ad products rolled into one: A post that opens into full screen images, videos and even product shots that rotate 360 degrees as you move your finger across the screen. The ads would essentially give marketers a mini-version of their own website on Facebook’s app, bringing the user “away” from the News Feed without ever taking them out of the app.

Mobile advertising might turn out to be so compelling that mobile users might actually want to watch them:-)